Wednesday, January 21, 2015

337 days til Christmas!

Ya, and I'm going to need all 337 days!

I wanted to get back to some traditional cable knitting this year. So I pull out my Aran Knitting by Alice Starmore (doesn't get much more traditional than that, eh?) thinking I would whip up Na Craga for Matt in no time (a: I've knit it before and b: the cables are easily memorized). However, Matt took one look at Irish Moss and fell in love.

Well, can't argue with his taste!

The problem is that the 1X1 twisted cables are fiddley for me. I can't do them without a cable needle, and so the progress is slooooow!

I plan on working a few rows every day... and that's how much I have done after 21 days.

Let's hope that 337 days are enough!

Friday, January 09, 2015

Holiday Roundup

This is the first year in a long time that Matt did not get a new sweater for Christmas. While I have a few sweaters close that I could've finished up, my attention span just wasn't on board.

So he got a few smaller projects this year.

A simple watch hat in some of hand dyed gradient yarn that Julie and I dyed a little while ago. I used a greyish natural color as the yarn base and Wilton's True Blue (maybe? I don't remember exactly which blue I used). I love the way it turned out. Matt loves the hat. It's a win/win!

Since I had more yarn left over than expected, I decided to make a simple 1X1 cowl. Also a big winner! The man does like to keep his neck warm!

To top it all off, I was going to make him a simple pair of fingerless mitts, but after some discussion, we decided he would get more wear out of pair of pop over mitts:

I used some left over Blackstone Tweed (used in one of his favorite sweaters: The Cambridge Jacket). I knew he would love how soft and warm this yarn is. He did ask that the thumbs be long, but left open (so he can use his phone). Even easier!

So, while he doesn't have a new sweater, he has lots of toasty woolen products to keep himself warm. Plus I cast on Irish Moss for him. I've 11.5 months to get it done!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Year in Review

At the beginning of the year I had really only two goals: knit more for me and more frickin' color (last year it was about Matt and neutrals)

While my FO list is fairly short, let's say that it was definitely a quality over quantity year.

First thing I finished this year was Amanda. Let's just say that this cardigan has gotten a lot of wear this year. Granted, it had been on the needles for sometime, but it was worth the work. This has definitely become my "go to" cardigan. Warm, cozy, yet it's not heavy. Plus who doesn't love that color???

Next up? one of two sweaters I finished for Matt this year. I made Matt Brownstone for Christmas and he loved it so much (and it's such an easy knit) that I decided to knit him an other one, which we named Rowhouse. Ya, this also is getting a lot of wear. Part of the reason is the yarn. Matt sure does love the Queensland Kathmandu (and if anyone is trying to unload sweater amounts, let me know). There's no doubt he'll probably get a third Brownstone (I think in a more cotton-y yarn?)

I don't have a modeled photo of the next finished project, and probably the only real disappointment of the year. I knit this Cabled Cropped Cardi in white Cotton Ease, and it's too heavy for what I wanted. The white and cropped fit make it a summer-esque sweater, but the yarn and the cables make it too warm to be that little over dress cardigan that I had hoped for. I have worn it, but it's very likely that it'll get frogged.

A rare self modeled project? A simple crochet cardigan I named Letitia Crowley. This is a super warm bulky cardigan. I love the pattern stitch and I love the yarn... but it is WARM and bulky (and bulky sweaters and bulky girls are not the best fit). However, I've worn it around the house when it started getting chilly and it does keep me toasty! This is a pattern I would crochet again... in a lighter weight yarn.

This is the second sweater I knit for Matt this year. I named it The Really Big Swatch. This top down raglan was a great knit. This is about as custom fit as they come. (and as a side note: I am a huge fan of broken rib).

I did a lot of tweaking to the pattern for Twyla to get it to fit me... and it was so worth it. Granted, the intent was for a fast easy around the house cardigan and I ended up with a fairly dressy "let's go out" jacket. I've worn it out to dinner several times and love the way it looks on me (and I don't say that about too many projects).

Ah, the Can't Clean Toilets in Cashmere Cardigan. Love the colors on this one. Only complain is that the 2x2 ribbed sleeves aren't as roomy as I would like for a casual cardigan. The yarn is soft and easy care, so it's a keeper.

Last, but far from least is my Bray. Love. Love. Love. I've worn this practically every day since I finished it. I made it a size too large, but I don't care. The ever wonderful Kathmandu yarn is the best yarn. Ever. It's warm, soft and lightweight. A great combo. Yes, I will make this pattern again. and maybe again.

So all in all, a successful year. Three of these projects are in VERY high rotation. That's a good thing. I have a few projects that I'm finishing up (I didn't include the handful of small projects that always seem to crop up: like hats and scarves etc) and I'm not sure what my 2015 goals are going to be. I didn't get a sweater done for Matt for Christmas this year... so that might be the first goal of next year.

Have a safe and happy holiday this season and cheers to the new year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Scarf Insanity

A non-knitter will look at this scarf and say: "You could just go buy a scarf for like $5. Why would you spend $27 on yarn to then have to knit it? That's insane!"

A knitter would say "Why would you knit a 1X1 rib scarf on US1.5 needles? That's insane!"

Ya, that sums up this scarf. And so totally worth it!

Project Stats:

Pattern: I cast on 72 sts and knit 1X1 rib until I was out of yarn. On size US1.5 needles. (oh, and it's a tubular cast on/off)

Yarn: White Birches Fiber 80/20 fingering weight in Diamondback colorway (she didn't have Red Sox and Julie bought the last Fat Elvis colorway).

Problems with the pattern: uh, no. Actually having a mindless project to pick up and just knit was quite handy. The self striping hand dyed yarn makes for an interesting knit (with mini-goals)

Overall impressions: He loves it (as a matter of fact he's wearing it right now). It's a shortish/lightweight neck warmer. I did get the same colorway in a DK to make a matching hat. If I were to do an other (and I might) I would either cast on fewer stitches or get two skeins just so it's a bit longer. However: this is how he's been wearing it:

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Design Dilemma

So here's Matt's Beauty of Grey pullover that I've been sort of ignoring. (This year's knitting was going to be focused on me and color!). As you can see, it's actually getting close to being done.

I have the neckline to deal with and I want to make a deeper hem on the bottom. However, right now I need to make a decision on the sleeves.

The sleeves are at the point where I need to decide if I want to just continue the single dark stripe all the way to the cuff or switch to the thick even stripes as on the bottom.

This decision will have an impact on the cuff, as I'll do a ribbed cuff with the single stripe and a hemmed cuff if I do the even stripe (again to match the bottom).

The other consideration is the "lining up" factor. This sweater is fairly long, so the even stripes will not line up with that bottom striping. Part of me thinks that it will look funky with the sleeve border stripes a lot higher on the body than the bottom border?

So Opinons Welcomed (but not necessarily followed). Tell me what you would do and why!

Monday, October 27, 2014


I think karma is trying to tell me to finish project instead of starting new!

I've started two projects over the last week and they're just not working. Here's an example of how this morning is going:

That's an other Twyla. I'm using some Solo Silk from Brooks Fiber Farm and I love the colors. It's giving me great fabric... except for the color stacking. Which I frickin' hate. This is the second project I've used with this yarn and I had the same problem with that knitted project.

I am alternating skeins (which is annoying in crochet) and it doesn't seem to matter where I start my two skeins, they start to stack (I've even switched out a couple of times trying to get less stacking).  The first two inches or so are fine, then I suddenly can't help but have the stacking. I'm going to rip back a few inches and try alternating more skeins. It's going to be worth it, as the fabric is perfect... it's just the color stacking that is driving me nuts. It might just be this colorway... and I do have a different colorway in stash. Hmmm...

I also bought a pattern and yarn at Stitches a few weeks back. I love the pattern and color, but after starting it, I realized that I'm going to have to do a lot of tweaking to the pattern for a comfy fit. (it's a boxy cardigan with a modified drop shoulder sleeve). I'll have to adjust the hips/sleeves/shoulders (probably convert to a fitted sleeve) to give me a flattering fit for my full bust/narrow shoulders/heavy arms build. This is why I should be knitting for Matt...

Oh and not only is Christmas coming, we have an anniversary coming up. Ya, maybe the knitting goddess is trying to tell me something?

Friday, October 03, 2014

Finish It Friday: Bray

So I had this brilliant idea to start and finish a sweater before I headed up to Hartford, CT for Stitches in October.

Let me introduce you to Bray. A lovely lace/cable pullover designed by Jared Flood. A lovely very feminine sweater.

It's well documented on how much I love the Kathmandu Aran/DK  yarn (sadly, discontinued). This is the 5th project I've knit with it (but the first for me). The green is soooo me.

I have tried several projects with the yarn, but none worked quite right. It had to be the "perfect" project. A discontinued yarn in my favorite color? oh ya, Bray fit the bill. The only real concern was that it was in two dye lots, and thanks to all the starts and abandonments, I lost track of which was which dye lot. So I crossed my fingers that there were close enough that no one would notice (success!)

Okay, so let's talk about the pattern. It's lovely, beautifully written and straight forward. Of course I screwed up the set up row on the back and didn't realized that I had an extra lace section on one side until I was decreasing for my shoulders... yep had to completely re-knit the back. This is after I decided to rip back half of a sleeve to go down a size (and I actually should've gone down one more size).

So there's the rub. It's a little too big. I followed the suggestion of 2-4" of ease, but with my full bust and narrow shoulders (plus this is slightly A lined), I should've gone with no ease or adjusted the raglan/saddles to compensate for my narrow shoulders. Don't get me wrong: I'm still happy with it, it's cozy and comfy. However, it's not nearly the tailored/classic design I was hoping for.

So let's do some project stats:

Pattern: Bray by Jared Flood

Yarn: Queensland Kathmandu Aran (a moment of silence while we mourn the discontinuation of this totally awesome yarn)

Problems with the pattern: ya, did I mention this is a pattern by Jared Flood. There is nothing left to guess. All directions are written out, from the cast on technique to how to soak and block it.

Changes to the pattern: shortened sleeves 2" (could've shortened them by 4") and lengthened the body a bit. I decided to have the st. st. side out on the sleeves, as I loooooove the way the Kathmandu looks in st. st. I twisted the purl stitches between the lace panels to help tighten up the yarn overs. I used a crochet cast on (which I prefer for 2X2 rib... I only use tubular cast ons for 1X1 rib)

Overall impressions: this is so close to perfection that the little things that are wrong bother me way out of proportion. Which is basically the fit (I will also confess this probably has more to do with my own body image issue than with the sweater). I know that I will wear this A LOT and I'm sure I'll knit it again (I want a smooth yarn version too, however, I will go down a size). So while I really am happy with it, I do feel that there were a few things I could've done better.